spain: let’s eat & shop - part 3
as of january 2013, my girlfriend and i have been predominately vegetarians, sticking to high quality plant-based organic foods that are non genetically modified - but that wasn’t going to stop us from eating everything we wanted while we were in spain. and i’m glad we did.
there isn’t a single sign or indication displayed of “organic” foods like it does in the states and here’s why: everything is high quality. let’s start with what was my favorite delicacy in spain, the iberian ham. i know it’s pork and the consequences of how it effects our body isn’t exactly healthy but this was an exception to my rule. every time i ate iberian ham it was served as a tapas that came with amazing bread that had olive oil and tomato spread. such a simple combination but given that all the ingredients were high quality, you can taste all the natural flavors without having to over season dishes to meet the typical watered-down taste buds of an american. the ham itself has vibrant colors because the pigs are all acorn-fed (rather than the obvious) and are free-range. from the first bite to the texture all the way to digestion, this is what eating should be like. if you were to eat a restaurant in barcelona and asked them if they had anything organic on the menu, the waiter would probably scratch their head. just about every ingredient in every dish tastes like it was organically grown without GMO, pesticides, hormones, etc. i remember working with a client a couple years ago that was from italy and i remember her telling me that the quality of food in new york “sucked.” wait, what? i thought to myself, “this is new york, there is a shit ton of great places to eat at, what is she talking about?” now i finally get what she meant. the overall way food is produced in europe is so much more humane than the states. nothing is homogenized to increase profits, everything is naturally and humanely grown and you can simply taste the difference in the foods - it’s really a night and day difference. we ate everything from beef, pork, chicken to seafood and there wasn’t a single place that disappointed. sure, some places were better than others but when it comes down to the core of the food, i knew what i was consuming wouldn’t be harmful to my body. as americans, we pay a premium to eat high quality foods while in barcelona, you don’t have to worry about what you’re eating cause you know it’s high quality and is a standard, not a premium.
the quality of life in barcelona just seems to be a lot higher than new york. there wasn’t a single homeless person we saw, no one on the streets begging or asking for money. not a single piece of garbage on the streets and just about every business is closed for 2 hours for lunch break where tax paying citizens can enjoy a stress-free lunch. europeans just know how to live life, sure you might be paying a little more in taxes but what you get in return is a government that actually cares in improving the quality of life of their people, to not have to worry about healthcare and to know that you and your family are covered. to be able to walk the streets and see the city cleaning the roads and sidewalks every night, it only solidifies my belief that capitalism isn’t the best way of life. not for me anyways.
when it came to the shopping, barcelona did not disappoint. granted, sneaker culture and street wear isn’t really that prevalent in barcelona but i can see that it is on the cusp as growing cultures in the metropolis city of spain. i probably saw more ferrari’s being driven then guys wearing jordan’s. we did check out a lot of ill european designers that i had never even heard of but needless to say, most of the people in barcelona were well groomed and attired, more so on the clean and dapper look which i’m not even mad at. for the most part, everywhere we went we got a lot of looks. obviously you can tell we are not locals. there did seem to be a good population of asians in barcelona. mostly filipinos and chinese, lots of pakistanis. from what i can see, asians in barcelona were kind of like hispanics in america, taking on low-level occupations such as bus boys, cab drivers, bell hops, etc. so when people saw an asian guy walking around with a hottie that can only be assumed as spanish (since she isn’t asian), it did create a lot of stares and head turns. first they would look at my girl and then look at me, then be confused, haha. i thought it was pretty funny.
one of the highlights of the trip was probably our visit to the picasso museum. i wasn’t able to document anything there as they did not allow photography, but i was truly inspired and blown away to see original picasso paintings and works, especially from his early years. they even had an exhibition in which they displayed original artwork from other artists that were influenced by picasso like basquiat and warhol. it made me understand why picasso spent his early years in barcelona and why he had so much love for this city. there really is inspiration around every corner, in every cup of coffee, in every sip of wine. barcelona isn’t overpopulated or polluted and because barcelona sits right on the edge of spain, you have the mediterranean sea at your disposal which means you have the best of both worlds - city life and beach life.
next stop, ibiza!